Operational Bulletin 2262B - February 22, 2011

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Modification to the Pilot Program to Expand the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for International Students Graduating from Designated Private Post-Secondary Institutions in British Columbia


Retroactive to January 31, 2011, the list of eligible private, post-secondary institutions participating in the recently launched pilot program to expand the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) in British Columbia has been extended to additional institutions that have received “Education Quality Assurance” (EQA)—designation by January 31, 2011. This has resulted in eight (8) additional institutions being eligible to participate in this pilot.


The purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) is to outline the parameters of a new pilot program to expand the PGWPP in the Province of British Columbia.

Under a two year pilot program with British Columbia, the PGWPP has been expanded to include international students graduating from select British Columbia EQA—designated private post-secondary institutions in programs of eight months or longer.

IMPORTANT: All work permits (WP) issued under this pilot program must be coded as indicated below (see Special Program Code under System Instructions) to support an effective evaluation of the pilot.

New Pilot Parameters

This pilot will be in effect between January 31, 2011, and January 31, 2013, inclusively and may be extended with a mutual agreement between the parties. These dates refer only to the period in which qualifying WPs can be issued and not to the duration of the WPs. The terms of the pilot will apply only to qualifying foreign nationals who have graduated from eligible programs of study at select EQA-designated, private post-secondary institutions in the Province of British Columbia (see list under Eligible Institutions).

Pilot Procedures

All of the general eligibility criteria, conditions of the WP and processing procedures for the PGWPP will continue to apply in conjunction with the following guidelines for the pilot program:

A) Eligible Participants

Applicants wishing to participate in this pilot program must meet the following additional criteria to qualify for a WP:

  • Must have graduated from one of the EQA-designated private post-secondary institutions in the Province of British Columbia designated by the Province of British Columbia as eligible institutions for the purposes of this pilot and which are listed below under “Eligible Institutions” during the validity period of the pilot program, or have begun eligible programs of study during the validity period of the pilot and graduated after the pilot period; and
  • Must have completed a program of study that is at least eight months in length and received a degree, diploma or certificate upon completion. Furthermore, only career training programs will qualify for this pilot. General interest courses, or programs of study that consist primarily of English or French as a Second Language instruction will not qualify.

B) Eligible Institutions

The following institutions have received their EQA designation prior to the pilot’s start date of January 31, 2011, and have been named by the Province of British Columbia as eligible institutions under this pilot program:

  • Degree-Granting Institutions: Alexander College; Columbia College; Fairleigh Dickinson University Vancouver; Quest University Canada; Sprott-Shaw Degree College; Trinity Western University; University Canada West; and
  • Non-Degree Granting Institution: Arbutus College of Communication Arts; Business and Technology; Ashton College; Canadian Tourism College; Centre for Arts and Technology; Eton College; Greystone College; John Casablancas Institute of Applied Arts; Mountain Transport Institute Ltd.; MTI Community College; Omni College; Pacific Audio Visual Institute; Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts; Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute; Sprott-Shaw Community College; Stenberg College; Universal Learning Institute; Brighton College; Vancouver Film School; Vancouver Institute of Media Arts.

C) Post-Graduation Work Permit Issuance

  • Consult section 5.24 of Overseas Processing (OP) 12 Manual Students.
  • Use labour market opinion (LMO) exemption code C-43 in conjunction with paragraph 205(c)(ii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations in support of the “competitiveness of Canada’s academic institutions or economy.”
  • Verify the eligibility of applicants pursuant to existing procedures to ensure that they meet the requirements of the pilot and the broader PGWPP.
  • Issue an open or open/restricted (depending on medical examination requirements, if applicable) WP to eligible applicants.

D) System Instructions

Special Program Code: Officers are required to use the NEW Special Program Code “ISP” (the long description is International Student Pilot Program for B.C.) in FOSS, GCMS, CAIPS, or, for inland processing, in the drop-down menu in the CPC system under “Special Programs”, for applicants meeting the requirements of the pilot. The use of this special program code is mandatory and it will be important for statistical research, evaluation and policy development purposes.

E) Validity and Duration

A WP issued under this pilot, like any other issued under the PGWPP, may be valid up to a maximum of three years depending on the duration of the program of study. If the program of study is two years or more, the student may be eligible for a three-year WP. Should the program of study be less than two years but at least eight months, the student may be eligible for a WP lasting for a period equal to the duration of the studies. For example, if the student graduated from an eight-month certificate program, he or she may only be eligible for a WP of an eight-month duration.

F) Program Integrity Monitoring

To remain eligible to participate in this pilot, an institution must continue to maintain its EQA designation and comply with the guidelines of the pilot and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and its Regulations. In circumstances where an institution loses its EQA designation, the Province of British Columbia will notify Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the graduates of the institution in question will no longer be eligible for the Post Graduation WP as of the day the institution loses its EQA status. However, in the interest of administrative fairness, all applications received by CIC before the date of the EQA revocation, will be processed accordingly.

Note: An institution may be removed from participating in this pilot if that institution is found to be non-compliant with the pilot’s guidelines and/or IRPA and its Regulations.

G) Program Evaluation

Ongoing monitoring and evaluation will be performed in partnership with the Province of British Columbia to determine the success of the pilot program.

H) Further Information

For additional information relating to the PGWPP, please refer to the CIC website at www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/work-postgrad.asp.

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